Archive for the ‘Prizes’ Category

2016 as seen by the Robertsons

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

It must be said, that 2016 has been a fabulous year for my wee family. Mostly for the fact that we finally went on the holiday I’ve been dreaming of my whole life, and Bryan and I have spoken about for the 18 years since we met! When we got pregnant we declared the bump would be taken to Disney World when it was old enough, well it spent his 7th birthday in Magic Kingdom and had dinner with Mickey Mouse. Mission accomplished.

Must admit we said we were doing the “once in a lifetime” experience and our budget stretched somewhat accordingly, it was all wonderful and worth the saving up all year. However next time (oops how did that happen?!) we’ll do things differently. Hopefully next time the worst hurricane in a decade won’t delay our departure either, an extra night in Manchester doesn’t really equate with your first night at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando. Luckily our ace Travel Counsellor booked us into the same hotel as some friends from home and we met them for dinner, which almost made up for it! The day I’d allocated as traveling from Universal to Disney became a Universal day and we ended up not feeling like we’d missed out much – thank goodness it didn’t mess with my Disney Fast Passes itinerary!

We had a fabulous fortnight, meeting characters and going on rides. Highlights (one day I might blog the extended version!) were Bryan’s face at high fiving Homer Simpson; Owen’s awe stricken face meeting Aladdin; me getting on stage with Captain Jack Sparrow and being sworn in as a pirate; the Star Wars fireworks; Be Our Guest dinner in the Beast’s castle; Owen’s joy at driving a car on Tomorrowland Speedway; watching the animals from our balcony at Animal Kingdom Lodge; Bryan’s excitement at Princess Jasmine calling him Sultan; Merida telling Owen he had to eat 7 cakes that day as it was his 7th birthday, the last of which had his name on the top as he was presented with a specially made birthday cake after dinner that night which Kate, our Travel Counsellor, had ordered for him; Splash Mountain; all being hugged by Chewbacca; Captain America letting Owen help to hold his shield; getting my photo taken with Chip n Dale; Bryan’s goat affection; multiple crêpes in the Food and Drink Festival at Epcot for Owen and getting ”one of each” at the chocolate stall for Mummy! Yes, that really is just some highlights, the whole fortnight was magical and amazing, hence the “next time” phrase starting early in our holiday and continuing today.

First though, Bryan and I will be going to Rome in 2017 as our Travel Counsellor also pointed out a competition her company were running and, one video review of her services later, I won! So we get flights, transfers, 3 nights in a 5 star hotel and tickets to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel! Kate didn’t know I’d won till she attended her company conference and my review was played to her 16,000 colleagues on 3 massive screens, the poor things!!

Bryan’s work is going well, his company merged this year so there are changes afoot. He’s going to be attending more conferences, and in September Owen and I accompanied him to one in Miami! As his company was paying his flights and for a hotel room it seemed a shame not to take the opportunity to go, and we only had to pay for our 2 flights. So we went from never having been to America to going twice in 2 months! The trip was a good practice for long haul flights and dealing with the heat – plus the conference hotel was gorgeous with 3 pools and a beach front so we got lots of swimming done! I may have also gate crashed some of the evening entertainment and got a cuddle with a lemur…

 

All year I’d been saying I should lose weight for Disney but as soon as Bryan mentioned Miami all I could think was the Will Smith video with size zero girls in bikinis. It was great motivation and I lost half a stone before we went, for the first time I can remember I actually enjoy looking in a mirror and in November I even took part in a fashion show for a local dress hire company! I did turn 40 this year, but the distress was distracted by my super chums getting me a Meerkat Moment experience at Edinburgh Zoo, we had a lovely day out with some other chums from down there. For a glorious 30 minutes I was allowed in with the marvellous meerkats, to feed them and pose with them! I also got to meet, and stroke, an armadillo!

Jennie's photos of my Meerkat Moment at Edinburgh Zoo

My work is also going well, external hires of the Library have seen me at a Downton Abbey theme civic ceremony, watching magic shows, listening to great gigs, helping organise a marriage proposal dinner, and being put in a disappearing box by Harry Potter!! I had a work experience student all summer so it was nice to have some company as I’m usually alone in the office – and whilst he was there we finally finished cataloguing the library collection. I also stood down as Chair of the BIALL Website Committee and attended my last of their conferences as the time has come to face up to the fact I’m not really a Librarian anymore.

Owen is also doing well at school, although he’s in Primary 3 he now does maths and literacy with the P4-7 class. Usually in Gaelic Medium Education (GME) kids are not introduced to English until P4, but when Owen told his teacher about the Road Dahl and JK Rowling books he’d read in the summer holidays they decided he was probably ready! He is a voracious reader, one Friday night I took him to the public library for new books, as I tucked him into bed I suggested that maybe he could let me sleep a little past 7 in the morning. Bryan and I awoke the next morning at 9.45 and I went through and found he was happily reading – “I’ve finished 2 books so far Mum” he says! It is embarrassing when he asks for help with maths and I have to get a calculator out though! He now goes to a football club after school on a Tuesday and he’s just passed level 2B in swimming classes. Oh and I’ve become a Parent Advisor for Gaelic education in Aberdeen.

I also managed to find myself on the committee for Fèis Obar Dheathain (traditional music tuition and a Gaelic arts experience for young people). We ran an event at the May Festival and a stand alone session in November, now planning a “proper” 3 day event at the February half term. Owen attended both Fèis this year and really enjoyed them so fingers crossed for the next one!

We think we finally have the hot tub settled. It leaks constantly but we’ve had the bathroom floor and walls treated so this shouldn’t cause any problems. We finally got a complete bill from the engineer and got paid up so we no longer have that debt hanging over us. It’s temperamental and will continue to have issues but when it’s working you don’t care, it is a fab thing to sit in…for hours…

I’m still loving my concerts, this year Bryan and I escaped to Glasgow for a weekend at the County 2 Country music festival and I enjoyed wearing cowboy boots! We saw some fab performers and have again bought each other tickets for Christmas so we can go next Spring. For my birthday, my parents took me to see Nashville Live in Glasgow, was the first time I’ve been to a concert with my Dad and a great night. I also had a birthday night out with some chums to see Kathryn Joseph, which was quite an experience! I worked at the Enjoy Music Festival again and was put in charge of the ticket collector team, it was a fun day – and I enjoyed the last few acts once the gates were shut at 9pm! Through Gig Shot website I managed to get free review passes for a few concerts and saw Ronan Keating, Stereophonics, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The View and Newton Faulkner. I also helped at the door of a few gigs my friends organised through their Flares and Seagulls music blog, saw quite a variety of different bands (and got chatted up by a drummer!). Owen was thrilled to come to two Best Girl Athlete concerts in my Library. At the first he got to meet the band, turns out Katie the lead singer went to his school, and the drummer even gave him a go on his drums! He was hanging out in the “green room” with the American bands who were also playing that night and spoke some Gaelic to them, which one in particular appreciated. I won tickets to see Red Hot Chili Peppers down in Glasgow so had a fun road trip with our cousin Nicole who’s quite a fan! I did try to actually buy tickets to see Busted, but a lovely Twitter chum set me up with free ones, with awesome seats that meant we were really close to the boys for 3 songs! We had another family trip to Party at the Palace and enjoyed our beloved Proclaimers again, as well as Gun, Bootleg Beatles and Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5.

I know 2016 hasn’t been as kind to everyone but I hope you had some happy times and go into 2017 with a good bank of memories. Here’s hoping the year ahead treats us all kindly.

Proclaimers

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

The time had come to take Owen to his first concert, but what should we take him to? I’d been looking out for things that would be appropriate one day remember listening to music Bryan suggested that if The Proclaimers came to town they would be ideal. We all love the Proclaimers and Owen knew many of their lyrics so that seemed perfect.

Finally I saw a tour advertised which included an Aberdeen date. I sent Bryan the details and we got tickets organised. Because Owen is under 14 we had to have seated tickets but I managed to get quite central in the third row. We were all looking forward to the evening.

A few weeks before the concert I asked Owen what he would like to wear to see The Proclaimers. I explained that some fans like to wear a T-shirt of the band at their gigs, he said he would like to do the same so I went on to The Proclaimers website to look for t-shirts in his size and was disappointed to find that there only adult t-shirts available. However I did find some press photographs of The Proclaimers and then noticed the email address for their management so I sent a wee email saying that we were taking our son to his first proper concert and that he would like a T-shirt to wear to see them. Response came saying that many young fans wear the small size of t-shirt and so I ordered one. When it arrived Owen tried it on but unfortunately it looked like a dress on him coming down to his knees. In great hysterics I sent a photo to the management and said that actually we might just make our own!

Small may be too big for my lad..

Surprisingly a response came back apologising and asking if perhaps Owen might like a photo with Craig and Charlie by way of apology. In great excitement I replied accepting this kind offer and stating our availability for the weekend.

The night before the concert I was at my works’ annual dinner greeting guests with the President of the Society. I took my phone out to take a photo of some of our members just as a notification of a new email arrived from the management of The Proclaimers. The email asked if Owen was still available to go backstage before the concert the next evening. I replied yes and asked if my husband and I could join him and where we should report to.

So on Saturday the 28th of November Bryan was driving Owen and myself to the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. Caught up in the excitement I tweeted that we were taking Owen into his first concert to see The Proclaimers and Daniel Meade a country artist we had seen at the Southern Fried Festival during the summer and that we were all very excited.

Ourselves and one of the couple got taken backstage. Once we were outside the dressing room the couple were asked to wait and we were taken forward and introduced to Charlie and Craig. Suddenly my son became very shy and awkward, his dad sat with him on the floor and he sat there with big eyes staring at these two men we had listened to so many times before. I asked him his question, which was if they could speak Gaelic and they said unfortunately no, so we said that Owen could teach them which surprised them until we explained that he was at the Gaelic School. They very kindly signed his program for the concert and then I suggested it would be nice to get a photo. Suddenly Owen jumped up full of smiles and with his thumbs up!

The Proclaimers at AECC

Obviously I couldn’t resist the opportunity and got another photo with myself included and then it was time to go and find our seats. We got taken out by the side of the stage and felt very special as everyone looked at us wondering where we had been as we grinned manically.

The excitement didn’t stop there, whilst we were waiting for the concert to begin my friend came in and we had a chat with her about our backstage experience. Then it was time for Daniel Meade, a few songs in he stopped and dedicated a song to Owen, a 6 year old, who is at his first concert! I turned to Owen in shock and said “that’s you” and his excited smile split his face from ear to ear.

Our third row seats were just perfect as no one sat in the two before us so we could see straight out over the standing crowd to the stage, although that was a fair distance. Owen sang along, clapped along, tried to take photos. Part way through The Proclaimers he started to look tired and sat on my knee, snaked his arms round my neck and snuggled into my chest. Still he was listening and it’s not as if there was a dance routine that needed watched. I was worried that he might fall asleep and miss some of the fun but at the end of each song his hands started clapping – still round the back of my neck. His dad tried to wake him up with a sugar hit from an ice cream and his smile got even bigger as he licked his way through the cone.

Even though it was over a year ago we still all remember that night well, obviously the Proclaimers are The Awesome anytime but when it’s your first concert and you’re spoilt rotten, well those are memories you’ll treasure forever!

The Proclaimers at AECC

As if that wasn’t all magical enough Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre then ran a competition just before Christmas to win an IWatch, I entered the photo of Owen with the Proclaimers and…we won!  Daddy was very confused when given an IWatch for Christmas as we’d said we’d not get each other anything but its always nice to get an extra surprise!

On Facebook?

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Please Like this photo, and the page its on, for Owen – http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=4804404&l=b4ac35c9bf&id=577161734

 I’m trying to win him stuff again!  And with his gorgeous smile he does deserve it!  One of the babies has over 50 Likes so we’ve got some catching up to do – purlease?!

Prize!

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Owen’s prize arrived the next day, I just haven’t got round to blogging about it!  Here he is with it, HIPP really have spoilt him rotten, its ace!  He loves the cuddly elephant, especially when its long truck tickles his tummy.  He’s had some of the foods already and seems to like them all – not that I’ve really found anything he won’t eat!

Owen with his prize from HIPP

Owen won!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Ok, so it was only a monthly competition which may not have had a lot of entries, but its still exciting!  HIPP baby food run a comp for cute baby photos and videos so I entered a video I took of Owen and I got an email today to say we’d won!  We get a hamper of HIPP food and a £25 Boots voucher.  They were even lovely enough to ask what Owen likes to eat and say they will pick foods accordingly!  Super!

Hug in an envelope

Being spoilt!

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Having a good day today.  Its lovely and sunny and George is enjoying that (although he’s now moved to my lap and is lying against the bump as he loves to do).  So that’s George spoilt.

George cat enjoying the sun!

We had a broken boiler yesterday but today my lovely plumber came and fixed it.  Not only did he come within 24 hours but he didn’t give me a bill.  If you live in Aberdeen and want a good plumber Paul Kane is your man – quick, efficient and lovely with it!!  Think he’s in the phone book but I can give you his mobile if needed!  So that was me spoilt.

Also the postman came this morning with 3 parcels for baby bump.  One was the third Bear In The Big Blue House dvd I had ordered from Play.com’s massive sale.  Baby might have to share these with me but at least I now have a good excuse to buy them!!  The other 2 were pressies from some of the lovely people I speak to on Twitter who have been following the progress of my pregnancy (perhaps against their wills as sometimes I’m sure I post far too much information but that’s just me!!).  These aren’t the first presents baby bump has had, from Twitter pals or “real life” ones, so he/she really is getting spoilt already!  Anyway here’s today’s pressies:

Baby bump's pressies from rah_rah, special_noodles and lola_bones
Baby bump's pressies from picturegift

So that’s baby bump spoilt! 

Just wish the wee one would come out now so we can use these gorgeous things!  Think it might be soon, at my midwife appointment last week I was told the head was 3-4 fifths engaged and I could swear its moved further down now.  It’s quite difficult and uncomfortable to sit in an upright chair now.  Add that to my carpal tunnel syndrome which has my hands puffy and achy; plus my sore swollen feet and its all fun!  Still not long now, baby is due in 5 days time and if it doesn’t come they will induce it between days 12 and 14 after that so Bryan and I will be able to get our first cuddles within the next 3 weeks – the end is nigh!!

Anyway, going to go sort some more stuff in the nursery now, am getting organised up there, might be able to post pictures before baby comes and share all the cuteness if I keep at it!  Might take photos of some of the other pressies baby has had as well, nicer than just a list of what he/she got!  Could be fun on the wall at his/her 18th birthday party!!

End of year wrap up

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Happy New Year!  Hurrah, 2008 is over and done with, lets move quickly on!

Didn’t get round to blogging for the last month, got tied up in preparation for Christmas – which suddenly loomed large!  Think I’m prepared now though, what?  Its over?  Oh well, guess its too late now then!

Benson has been keeping me occupied and away from blogging or organising myself for Christmas.  Poor wee guy actually spent whole of Christmas in the vetinary hospital.  It’s now confirmed he has chronic cystitis which means he will be ill for the rest of his life.  His bladder has now blocked twice – both times meaning several days in the hospital with a catheter and lots of drugs.  He’s now on a special diet and we’re looking for other ways to help him so we’re now growing trays of grass for him to eat, we bought a covered litter tray to give him privacy, his Aunty Nicole has given him a water fountain so he has fresh moving water which he is more likely to drink.  Might have to let him out but will see how he’s getting on at his next check up.  Obviously changing food and stuff affects George too but he’s being quite good about it all, just gets jealous when Benson gets his “special hugs” three times a day.  He doesn’t quite understand that we are just giving Benson drugs and that its not something he should be jealous of so we have to wrap him in a blanket and turn him upside down too!  Anyway if you have pets learn from our mistakes – if you take out cheap pet insurance it is only likely to cover the first year of any condition – this is bad if your cat then gets a chronic condition.  Luckily he’s covered so far but we’re well on the way to the maximum payout – yikes!

So what else did I do in December?  Well I took part in a criminal justice experiment that Robert Gordon University was running.  Obviously if I told you what it involved I would have to kill you but it was quite interesting to be part of!

I had a night out with Donna and Lydia who I went to France with in the summer.  It was to be a girly Christmas night out but for various reasons we ended up with just four of us.  That was actually lovely as there was only one new person who’s name I needed to remember and we could all hear each other talk over the table!  We had a nice dinner in Saigon’s and then went to a couple of bars before calling it a night.  I treated myself to a new dress for it – now that I’m down to a size 12 I was looking for an excuse for a new frock and a night out – and a 30% off voucher for Monsoon – seemed to suit!

Donna’s Christmas night outMarianne, Donna, me and Lydia        New size 12 Monsoon dress!New dress!

I was lucky enough to get asked to review this year’s Panto so I was able to take Donna and the two of us returned to our youth screaming “he’s behind you” etc!  It was a fab show with fireworks and Peter flying over our head, I really enjoyed it.

Still trying to get in the mood for Christmas preparation I went to see Four Christmasses, again with Donna and Lydia.  It was really good – but I still wasn’t kicked into Christmas mood!  Next it was down to Edinburgh for the Scottish Law Librarians Group Christmas Networking Meeting with Jenny.  We got the train down and back in the same afternoon, managing to fit in time for a go on the carousel and dinner at TGI Fridays whilst we were down there.

Maria on the carouselGeorge the carousel horse!     Dinner with the Law Librarians in Edinburgh!Librarians can party too!

I was supposed to go to an enchanted forest thing with lights and music in Aboyne but that day Benson took ill again and I went to the vets instead of the forest.  We did make it to Ray and Nicole’s for Sunday lunch, possibly the last time I’d see them before the baby arrives – so exciting!  I spent the evening of the boy’s work night out with Nicole as well – and felt an elbow or knee moving in her belly – most surreal and amazing!  Still waiting for the baby to arrive, I’m at the stage of jumping whenever the phone goes – but then it is due TODAY!!  Exciting!

Ooh after the Sunday lunch at R&N’s we popped into Bryan’s Dad for a wee visit.  As it turned out brother Lee was also there with his family so we got to see them all which was lovely.  Bryan took some lovely photos of them as well so that was cool, we don’t see our nieces and nephews a lot so it was really great to spend some time with them.

One more night out before Christmas was with Gill and her friends James and Corrie.  We had dinner in our local pub and then a few other folk (including Gill’s poorly hubby) joined us for a drink.  We all had a good natter and a laugh.

Gill and Stuart Gill and Stuart – the couple we bought our house from – who’d have thought we’d end up as buddies?!

My work closes at 1pm on Christmas Eve and is shut until Monday 5th January so I’m having a lovely break.  We managed to see a few friends and family on 24th, Stephen and Lee popped by and then we went down to Reg’s.  Was nice to spend some time with him and Sasina, we chatted through Santa Clause 3 and ate chocs. 

Christmas Day was spent, just the two of us, as is our tradition.  It was a bit sad knowing that Benson was stuck in the hospital whilst we were all at home, George enjoyed all the attention though and loved being spoilt.  We put the tree up for the day so we could open our presents underneath it and George was quite bewitched by it.

George loves the pretty treeGeorge   

We got some lovely pressies between us as well – thanks to all contibutors!  This year’s lunch was to be goose, Bryan loves to do something different – and he did it very well!  There was lots of food and it was all gorgeous. 

Table laid readyTable laid out ready            Roast Goose and all the bits!Food all set out, roast goose

Boxing Day we left poor George all on his own and went to visit my parents for another lovely lunch – the traditional turkey this time!  It was lovely to see my parents – and to get more pressies obviously!

Dad, me on my rocking horse, and Mum  Spending Christmas with my parents and hubby  Dad, me on Firefly and Bryan

The next day we were able to collect Benson from the hospital and bring him home.  We’d had a problem after the first day because he smelt funny to his brother George and there was a lot of hissing and ignoring so this time we were careful to cuddle him lots in another room first so as to rub some of the hospital smell off.  It did take them a while to accept each other but it wasn’t as upsetting as last time.  We’d kept the wrapping paper for them to play with as they’d loved that last year but I think they are too old for such frolics now so they didn’t seem to enjoy it in the same way.

Benson comes home

The last day of the year was spent: at work (Bryan), out for lunch with Gill and the kids (me)!  I also got my last competition win of the year in the post – a Carling t-shirt.  I expect I entered to win a fridge full of beer or something exciting but still, Bryan can never have too many tops! 

As for Hogmanay, well we just enjoyed having our family back together.  Benson is on a lot of medication so he sleeps a lot at the moment but we had a game with Bryan’s new remote control General Lee and all had lots of cuddles.  Bryan cooked haggis with mash potato and roast butternut squash for our dinner and we watched some tv and nattered the night away. 

I’ve been trying out Twitter an online communication tool, and was messing about on that during the evening.  I ended up getting involved in a Tweeplay which was quite fun and has been recorded on my Twitter friend’s blog.  Different but entertaining none the less!  I also took the following piccie for infobunny but I won’t bother explaining why as you really needed to be there to get it!

George with some whisky

After midnight I went outside with a sparkler, inbetween trying to persuade the cats that the fireworks outside and on the tv wouldn’t hurt them.  We watched the fireworks and listened to the bells and bagpipes in Edinburgh.  Midnight on Hogmanay is the one time I miss our flat in Edinburgh – we used to be able to stand on our balcony and watch the fireworks whilst being able to see and hear the same fireworks close up on the tv – best way to do it – no crowds, no being jostled by foreigners, clean toilets, warmth and whatever food or drink you desire!

And so we’ve seen the back of 2008 – hurrah.  Here’s hoping that 2009 brings happy times for one and all.  Have a good ‘un!